French programme nurtures entrepreneurs

Saturday, Jun 28, 2014 11:41

Workers at Hai Ha Joint Stock Company in Bac Giang Province stack bricks. The Micro Small Entrepreneurs Support Programme aims to build capacity for small entrepreneurs through basic management training. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue

HCM CITY (Biz Hub)— Looking at the thriving business Juice "n" joy, a small beverage shop in HCM City's District 6, seems to have it is hard to believe that its owner, Pho Duc Khiem, failed in his previous business.

Earlier he had another small shop at the same spot selling mobile phones, but, despite his best efforts, the business was struggling and made very little profit though he did not even have to pay rent since he owned the building.

He said, "After two years I decided to close the shop."

He switched to selling beverages.

But his fortune did not seem to change until one day when he got an invitation from local authorities to attend a free training programme for small entrepreneurs like him.

"Micro Small Entrepreneurs Support Programme" began in 2013 with the main aim of building capacity for micro small entrepreneurs through basic management training to make them able to grow their business.

Organised by France's European Institute for Co-operation and Development (IECD) and Ton Duc Thang University's Social Development Training Centre, the programme had been run in Districts 6 and Thu Duc with both basic and specialised training courses.

"The objective of the programme is to help micro small entrepreneurs have better piloting skills in their business, consequently moving them from a logic of survival to sustainable and income-generating growth," Thai Huu Tuan, vice principal of Ton Duc Thang, said.

This would gradually help eliminate poverty, the living conditions of each family would improve, and society would become wealthier, he said.

The trainees are taught by people who have graduated in business administration and have at least two years of experience.

After more than a year of running the programme on a trial basis until the end of May, organisers held a formal inaugural ceremony in HCM City in the middle of June.

They said the expenditure during the trial period amounted to around US$85,000.

The programme targets micro small entrepreneurs like those selling sugarcane juice, soup, and coffee and washing vehicles and hairdressers.

"They teach us how to manage, calculate the investment, how to identify suitable strategies, and how to compete with rivals so that we can improve our business," Khiem said.

The teaching includes theory and practical training, he said.

He told Viet Nam News that he is now so confident that he plans to open more shops soon.

Because of that, despite being very busy, he spends several hours a week attending all the classes.

Nguyen Thi Cuc, a soup seller in District 6, said she was taught useful business theory.

"In just three days I found that the programme was very effective. So I introduced it to many friends."

According to the organisers, the programme has so far seen nine courses, which were attended by 110 micro entrepreneurs.

Thuy Blais, the programme project manager, said they made a painfully slow start. After going from house to house to persuade people to attend, they got all of three people to attend the first session.

But it has now become very popular and there are plans to take the programme to Districts 8, Binh Tan, and Tan Phu.

Blais told Viet Nam News that the organisers are looking for more sponsors to expand the programme. — VNS

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